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About the Talk

A central leitmotif of Elinor Ostrom’s Nobel Prize-winning research program on commons and collective action is its theoretical and methodological pluralism. Lin and Vincent Ostrom conceptualized the ‘Workshop in Political Theory & Policy Analysis’ to pursue the craft of scholarship on institutional analysis and development without taking a doctrinal approach to academic research. However, this respect for pluralism has had an interesting unintended consequence, wherein scholars and activists from diverse ideological backgrounds have reinterpreted Ostrom’s work from within the confines of their ideological programs. This research seminar engages constructively with these diverse reinterpretations to highlight the foundational insights from Ostrom’s theories of commons and collective action. The second part of this seminar applies these insights to two contemporary challenges: global urbanism and the hugely anticipated transition to renewable energy infrastructure. It concludes with reflections on expanding the scope of Ostrom’s theories of commons and collective action to promote socially-just and environmentally-resilient commons in the Anthropocene.

About the Speaker:

Prakash Kashwan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Connecticut. His research and scholarship focuses on the political economy of institutions, environmental policy and politics, global climate governance, and climate justice. In these endeavors he utilizes a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, while building on his over two-decade-long engagements with questions of environment and development, including via a first career in international development (1999-2005).

Professor Kashwan is the author of Democracy in the Woods: Environmental Conservation and Social Justice in India, Tanzania, and Mexico (Oxford University Press, 2017) and articles in World Development, Ecological EconomicsRegional Environmental ChangeLand Use PolicyJournal of Environmental ManagementInternational Journal of the Commons, Journal of Theoretical Politics, and Global Environmental Politics. He has also contributed popular commentaries to the Washington Post and the Guardian, among others.

Professor Kashwan teaches courses on the politics of the environment, environmental policy and institutions, and research methods. More information about his research and teaching is available at https://prakash-kashwan.uconn.edu/